Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Rosslare Ropax And Ro-Ro Freight Ferry Team Up in Dublin As Relief Ships

6th March 2018
756 Views
Ropax Stena Horizon just hours after arrival into Dublin Port yesterday morning berthed at North Quay Extension (beside Tom Clarke/East-Link toll-bridge). The ferry sailed from Cornwall, UK after been refitted. Built by Visentini, Porto Vico, Italy, the same shipyard completed Irish Ferries chartered-in ropax Epsilon which too arrived yesterday into Dublin Bay (only eight minutes apart) having departed Cherbourg, France. Ropax Stena Horizon just hours after arrival into Dublin Port yesterday morning berthed at North Quay Extension (beside Tom Clarke/East-Link toll-bridge). The ferry sailed from Cornwall, UK after been refitted. Built by Visentini, Porto Vico, Italy, the same shipyard completed Irish Ferries chartered-in ropax Epsilon which too arrived yesterday into Dublin Bay (only eight minutes apart) having departed Cherbourg, France. Photo: JEHAN ASHMORE

#FerryNews - As Afloat reported yesterday, ropax Stena Horizon starts Dublin-Holyhead sailings tonight to enable a fleemate to be drydocked, however additional freight-only capacity is already in place, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The larger of the two routine ferries on the Wales route, Stena Adventurer leaves for annual maintenance overhaul in A&P Falmouth where Stena Horizon recently underwent similar work. The ropax will cover the roster of this ferry tonight, 6 March 20.40hrs to 20 March 02.30hrs inclusively.

The Stena Horizon normally operates the Rosslare-Cherbourg service, see story. Passenger capacity is for 900 and vehicles totals are 160 for cars and 135 lorries respectively. 

Already operating on the Dublin route since late last month is ro-ro freight ferry Arrow which will continue to serve during the absence of Stena Adventurer. No doubt this boost to freight capacity was welcomed given the impacts caused to road hauliers during the severe weather dubbed the 'Beast from the East' coupled with Storm Emma.

The 65 freight trailer unit capacity Arrow sails on crossings from Dublin at 06:00hrs daily (excl. Sun) having previously sailed overnight from Holyhead at 22:30hrs daily (excl. Sat). During the day, Arrow has layed over in Holyhead. 

With the Arrow in service this brings to three ships operating, as the route's second ferry is Stena Superfast X. This ferry given its size is better matched to the 'Adventurer' hence the necessity to have two relief ships deployed to cover the dry-docking period.

Arrow is owned by Seatruck Ferries but is chartered to the Isle of Man Steam Packet which use the 122m vessel as a relief ferry at peak times to assist capacity with ropax Ben-My-Chree on the Douglas-Heysham route.  

In addition Arrow provides backup due to technical breakdowns or severe weather by making up shortfalls through added sailings.

Over the years Afloat has reported on Arrow's career that has seen the Steam Packet sub-charter the Irish Sea freightferry to Condor Ferries UK-Channel Islands operations.

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

Email The Author

Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

DBSC
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club

Featured Brokers

mgm sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

corkweek sidebutton
tokyo sidebutton
roundireland sidebutton
wave regatta
sovscup sidebutton
vdlr sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating